Keep Charleston Beautiful, Charleston, SC

Keep Charleston Beautiful was awarded a $5,000 KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant to implement the Adopt-A-Stop: Bus Stop Litter Prevention Program in Charleston, S.C. Adopt-A-Stop (AAS) is a volunteer based litter prevention program geared at stopping litter at Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) bus stops located in the City of Charleston. In short, volunteers adopt a trash can at a local bus stop and service the can weekly, collecting the trash and cleaning any litter near the stop.

Thanks to the KAB/Lowe’s 2014 grant funds Keep Charleston Beautiful now has 12 stops adopted throughout the City and more under review for adoption. Grant funding provided the trash cans, lids, trash bags, pickup sticks, safety materials, and promotional items needed for this project to become a reality.

Why Adopt-A-Stop?
AAS was created to solve an issue. Litter along local roads with a focus on bus stops. Transition spots and areas where people stop are often hot spots for litter, more so when there are no receptacles for unwanted waste. Unfortunately, simply providing a trash can at such locations is the easy part of the solution. The harder part is servicing the trash cans. A trash can that is not serviced does nothing to solve the litter issue and quickly becomes a problem in and of itself. The AAS program in Charleston aimed to provide serviced trash cans at local bus stops. The catch was we had no budget or staff to service the cans. After testing our volunteers at four stops around the city, the Adopt-A-Stop program formally launched in the summer of 2014. We are continuing to expand and improve the program, but already this year our adopters have conducted 144 bus stop visits, collected 61 bags of trash from stops.

Who Adopts?
Adoption groups range from local real-estate businesses, restaurants, small businesses, individuals, families, nonprofits, schools, and local scouts groups. When thanking a the Charleston’s Boy Scout Pack 79, Den 6 for their adoption of the stop near their meeting place, the young men had a few winsome words to share. When asked how they could help prevent litter an 8-year-old responded, “Put trash in the trash can if there is one near you or just hold onto it until you see a trash can.” When asked what they thought litter was, Romney, a 7-year-old scout answered, “Plastic and tin and other stuff that people just get rid of without thinking.” These young men along with all our other volunteers are stepping up and acting as true stewards in the community.

We also involve local students to help decorate our AAS drum trash cans. The painted cans help draw attention to the cans and provide a fun way for local students to share their ideas on what makes Charleston beautiful. The students are asked to paint the cans with the theme “A Beautiful Charleston.”

KCB is thankful to CARTA, Lowe’s, Keep America Beautiful, and our wonderful Adopters for making AAS possible.

Keep Durham Beautiful, Durham, N.C.

Volunteers began work on a new project at Briggs Avenue Community Garden in Durham, N.C., on Friday, Oct. 31, thanks to a $10,000 KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant in support of the mission of Keep Durham Beautiful. The Lowe’s Community Partners Grant will provide funding to create new demonstration areas, develop a vineyard, and improve accessibility for individuals with limited mobility.

Briggs Avenue Community Garden was founded to address issues of food security, to improve the diets of residents, and to provide Durham youth and families with resources and education to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables. Local Lowe’s employee volunteers — “Lowe’s Heroes” — are working at the garden alongside other volunteers and City and County staff (including Durham County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers).

Already, they have created accessible raised garden beds for plot owners with limited mobility and developed a vineyard with grapes and blueberries to teach vineyard cultivation and management for the community. In the next month, they will finish building a 400-square-foot mortared brick patio with lighting, fans, seating and cooking stations for public use in demonstrations and community gatherings.

The project is expected to be completed in mid-December 2014, making the space even more inviting for the many families and individuals who participate in the garden in 2015.

Keep Cass County Beautiful, Louisville, NE

On Oct. 25, 36 local volunteers gathered to plant 34 new trees in the village park in Cedar Creek, Neb. The trees were made possible from a 2014 Lowe’s/Keep America Beautiful Community Partners Grant. The $10,000 grant was received by Keep Cass County Beautiful and helps support its mission to engage individuals in building and sustaining vibrant communities.

Twenty-four conifer trees were planted along the south side of the park to add a screen and noise barrier from the railroad tracks. A mix of Black Hills spruce, white pine, Douglas fir, Colorado spruce, Norway spruce, limber pine, and Swiss stone pines will create a beautiful backdrop. A variety of autumn blaze maples, shingle oaks and various crabapple trees were also planted in the 19-acre park and green space areas. Another 10 large deciduous trees (each of a different species) will be planted this week to complete the project. The addition of more trees will provide shade, shelter, habitat, cleaner air, and a beautiful environment that will encourage more use of park areas.

Thanks to Lowe’s, Keep America Beautiful, the Village Board of Cedar Creek, Charles Paukert, Kip Fuxa, many Cedar Creek and other volunteers, Eagle Nursery and Beck’s Tree Farm for their help with the completion of this project. Creating more shade in the picnic and playground areas of the park will encourage more events and attract more visitors. This project will improve the overall aesthetics and environment of Cedar Creek’s unique lake community increasing enjoyment for everyone.

Keep Rockland Beautiful, New City, NY

On October 24, Lowe’s of Clarkstown employees assisted 5th through 7th grade students from the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center in Spring Valley in the painting of 6 Artful Receptacle cans. The students sketched the can designs during a workshop at the MLK Center on October 16. KRB’s artist consultant on this project, Shirley Goebel Christie, facilitated the design workshop.

On October 27, Lowe’s of Orangeburg employees assisted a group of volunteers from Another Step of Rockland, a service organization for people with Developmental Disabilities, to paint 7 Artful Receptacles. Another Step volunteers sketched out their designs at a workshop held with Mrs. Christie on October 10. Several Lowe’s volunteers also designed and painted their own cans at this event.

Keep Guntersville Beautiful, AL

Keep Guntersville Beautiful and more than 100 of our friends constructed a beautiful “Hope in Bloom Garden” as a tribute to families in our community who have been touched by cancer. The “Hope in Bloom Garden” is located on the Azalea Walking Trail located in the Guntersville Civitan Park and received extensive damage from a series of tornadoes in 2011. The new garden is part of on-going efforts to restore the park. Seasonal flowers and plant materials were selected in color schemes representing various forms of cancer.

Species with candy themed names were also selected such as Cotton Candy Camellias were included in recognition of childhood cancers. The focal point of the garden is a heart-shaped recycled metal ribbon sculpture created by local artist David Hammock. This National Planting Day Project was funded in part by a KAB-Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant. KGB partnered with the Marshall Medical Center Foundation, Girl Scout Troop 10098, BSA Troop 4173, Marshall County PALS, GHS Wildcats@Work, Students for Earth and cancer survivors which provided a beautiful backdrop along the route of our Annual Pink Pumpkin Run for Breast Cancer.

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, Michigan

Even on a Sunday with temperatures hovering just over 50 degrees, volunteers are hard at work improving the playground area in Longway Park. Local volunteers who include a city councilman, a local business owner, and several neighborhood residents, are all members of the Potter Longway Neighborhood Association which proudly participates in KGCB’s Adopt A Park program. Using funds from KGCB’s Lowe’s Community Improvement grant, playgrounds, benches and pavilions in parks throughout Flint are being painted, repaired and improved. If temperatures are too low for painting (50 degrees or lower) volunteers are still in the parks scraping, laying safety mulch, replacing wood on benches and bleachers, and whatever other tasks need to be done. Fall weather is unpredictable in Michigan, but what’s for certain is our volunteers are heating things up thanks to KAB and the Lowe’s Community Improvement program.

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, MI

Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s volunteer activity is attracting even more volunteers. Each day as they continue their painting and improvements in Sarginson Park, the Adopt a Park sponsors from West Flint Community Watch are being approached by neighborhood residents who want to join in and help complete the process.

Mary Severn, who co-chairs the Sarginson Park adoption team, was approached today while buying coffee and donuts for the hard-working volunteers in the park. A gentleman in line behind her asked a few questions and decided he wanted to volunteer as well. Whenever there are even two or three people interested in heading over to do some painting, Mary is willing to get them started with supplies and little direction. Scraping and painting begin at Delaware and Longway parks on September 13-14. Here’s to the volunteer spirit!